Gone are the days when exhausted women all over the globe would rush to the nearest drugstore and fight ferociously for the last cardboard cylinder-ed box of Bath Salts to pour heavily into their only space of peace and tranquility after long, grueling hours at the office - Their Bathtub. Instead, they spend their weekends or downtime at work shopping and being subject to the overwhelming variety of trendiest and sometimes dangerous bath products on the market today. It's quite easy to get confused about which ones are effective and safe vs the ones that are not. I'm here to shed some wonderful + colorful light on the subject! So let's begin our lavender-eucaplyptus infused bathing information bomb with some ingredient knowledge:
The two different salts used in trending products are Epsom Salt + Sea Salt. Many bath companies will claim to source their Sea Salts locally to sound more legitimate or appealing, but the only real differentiating therapeutic factor is how pure and unprocessed the Sea Salt is compared to their competitors. While Sea Salt's main component is Magnesium Sulfate (also known by the name of "Epsom Salt"), Sea Salt also contains small amounts of minerals like potassium, iodine and magnesium. This is why many bloggers and companies claim that their Sea Salts are superior to Epsom Salts, which is often times not true because of how refined (bleached, dyed, and scented w/ fragrance) they are, diluting the mineral density. It would literally take 5x the recommended amount of most Sea Salts for your skin benefit from the minerals claimed to present in these Sea Salts. Your best bet in choosing a Sea Salt is to opt for only 100% Pure Dead Sea Minerals that have been unprocessed and unrefined. The color of these Sea Salts should be a bit cloudy vs. your standard Epsom Salts, which are clear and colorless. Epsom Salt is a safe alternative to Sea Salts, containing only the natural occurring minerals, Magnesium + Sulfate. Be sure though that whenever purchasing Epsom Salts that the label indicates a "drug facts" box or is labeled "USP" - meaning the salts have been manufactured, tested and certified to meet stringent regulatory standards that are safe and acceptable for human use. While Epsom Salts are great for Muscle Tension and Detoxification, they contain no benefits to the skin. This is why Essential Oils are added to the Superior Bath Products containing Epsom Salt (USP).
It is very important to be knowledgeable regarding Essential Oils in Skincare, especially when using them alone. Essential oils should only be used in a Skincare Regimen (this includes your bathing products) if they are diluted in a Carrier Oil like Squalene Oil (my personal favorite), Grapeseed Oil, or Jojoba Oil. The purpose of Carrier Oils are to deliver the therapeutic properties into the skin without any burning or scarring. Putting Essential Oils directly on the skin should be done so sparingly and for Aromatherapy purposes only. The problem with Sea Salts that claim to contain Essential Oils is that they typically contain less than 1%, perhaps creating a pleasant scent, but little to no benefits for the skin and no properties within them to prepare or open the pores for proper delivery. This is why "Bath Salts Are So Twentieth Century", as there are far better products containing Milk and Sodium Bicarbonate as a base to prep the skin for Essential Oil delivery. All Essential Oils should be labeled "Cold-Pressed" or"Steam Distilled".
Cleopatra's Beauty Secret! She would fill her tub every night with Camel Milk to supply nutrition to her skin directly. Luckily, for all of you hard working modern day Egyptian Princesses (and Princes!) out there, milk, as a base, has made it's way into a few fabulous and revolutionary bath products instead of the messy and sometimes drying Salts. High in fat content making it a great natural moisturizer for the skin. Also rich in skin rejuvenating lactic acid. Milk Is The New Pink!
Not to be confused with Sodium Carbonate - a strong alkali agent used in household cleaning products. Sodium Bicarbonate is an excellent, naturally occurring additive in bath products that preps the skin for Essential Oils when combined with Milk. This ingredient softens the water, promotes circulation in the body, buffs away pore-clogging dead skin cells, and replenishes lowered stores of electrolytes. The "fizzing" in many popular bath products is caused by mixing Sodium Bicarbonate with Citric Acid.
A PH adjusting agent that creates a Carbon Dioxide(the fizz effect) when combined with Sodium Bicarbonate. Citric Acid is also a natural preservative and helps protect the shelf life of products.
-Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate-
This emulsifying, soap replacement salt is derived from Coconut/ Palm Oils and acts as a cleansing agent for sensitive skin and stabilizes the foaming effect in Bath Products. Lots of companies will substitute Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate for Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which is a less expensive and more aggressive on the skin form. Always opt for SULFOACETATE, not Sulfate.
The properties in Oatmeal that benefit the skin are impressive: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-itch. It is the one of the best natural and easy ingredients to improve dry and irritated skin and it also serves a natural exfoliating ingredient. The best and most effective form of Oatmeal in skincare and Bath Products is Hydrolyzed Oat Protein (gluten free), which comes in a liquid composition that produces all the benefits without the mess!
Ideally, you want a bath product that is Milk Based and contains Epsom Salt USP, good quality Essential Oils, Sodium Bicarbonate + Citric Acid (for skin smoothing/ PH balancing), Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate, and Hydrolyzed Oat Protein.